A quarter of Britons are overweight and alcohol related deaths have doubled.
Nearly a quarter are overweight and the number of alcohol related deaths has more than doubled since the early nineties, the Office for National Statistics revealed. The latest edition of the Social Trends report also reveals that one-in-five men and one-in-seven women over 16 drink more than double the recommended daily allowance of alcohol once a week.
Spending on social security has more than doubled since the late 1970s to £152 billion. Sixty per cent of this is paid to people of state pension age, reflecting our ageing population.
Matthew Hughes, editor of Social Trends 40, said: “The UK and the world are very different places now compared to 40 years ago. This book represents an overall picture of life in the UK today.”
The ONS has been capturing statistical data since the 1970’s on the way that we live.
During that time, life expectancy has increased by almost 10 years for men, who on average live until they are 77.8 years old, and seven years for women, who lived on average until they are 82.
The number of heavy smokers has fallen from 26 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women to seven and five per cent respectively.
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Mr Hughes said: “Health is undoubtedly an important indicator and life expectancy is a good indicator of the national health.”
The number of students in higher education has risen by almost two million since the 1970’s and now more than three fifths of three to four year old’s are in early years education.
Mr Hughes said: “The statistics highlight some of the main social changes over the last four decades.
“We are now living longer, less of us get married, and household sizes are smaller.
“More of us have cars, women are having babies later in life, and more of our household spending goes on housing, water and fuel.”
The way we communicate has changed with the explosion of the internet, which has also taken off as a way to shop.
Mr Hughes said: “In the last ten years alone, the number of households with an internet connection has risen from nine per cent to 66 per cent.”
But as we move towards the virtual world, more and more people in the UK are also living alone, with the number of single person households doubling to 12 per cent since 1971.
Mr Hughes said: “It is interesting that more than two thirds of people aged 18 and over in Great Britain believe that they do not need a partner to be happy and fulfilled in life.”
The latest analysis of the way we live also shows that UK residents are taking nearly 40 million more foreign holidays than in the 1970s, with Spain remaining the most popular destination.
Mr Hughes said: “Household disposable income in the UK has increased by more than 140 per cent in real terms between 1971 and 2008.”
This year’s edition of Social Trends will be the last available in paper form, showing how even our statistical analysis is moving with the times, Mr Hughes said.
He added: “With Social Trends there are snapshot statistics. What we provide is the latest picture and the latest profile of UK society.”